Despite complaining Congress isn’t trying hard enough to nail down a deficit deal yesterday, President Obama snubbed Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s invitation to discuss the issue with Senate Republicans today. Instead, the president is jetting off to Philadelphia, where he’ll be attending two DNC campaign fundraisers this evening.
“They’re in one week, they’re out one week. And then they’re saying, ‘Obama has got to step in. You need to be here,’” Obama carped to reporters during a press conference yesterday. “I’ve been here. I’ve been doing Afghanistan and bin Laden and the Greek crisis. You stay here. Let’s get it done.”
But while the president expects members of Congress to stay in town, he seems to have little interest in doing the same. After McConnell extended an invitation for Obama to hear the concerns that Senate Republicans have with his proposals, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney firmly rejected it this afternoon.
According to Carney, the GOP only wants to “restate their maximalist position” and this is “not a conversation worth having.”
Carney also denied there was a problem with the president attending fundraisers in Philadelphia tonight, instead of staying in town to work on the deficit deal. “We can walk and chew gum at the same time,” he said.
Perhaps sensing the terrible optics of Obama’s decision, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid offered the president a chance to try to redeem himself, by inviting him to meet with the Senate next week. The Democratic Senate leadership also dismissed McConnell’s original request to Obama as a “stunt.”
The American people might beg to differ. Those Philadelphia fundraisers sound like a fun time, but it’s not unreasonable for Republicans to expect the president to give more precedence to resolving the deficit issue than he does to financing his reelection campaign.